Monday 13 February 2023

What It Means To Be A Writer - The Creative Process


This is something I've seen talked about a whole ton within the writing community. You've got those who are aspiring to be published one day, and those who are already published, whether indie or trad pub, and then there are those who just aspire to be seen as a writer. I'm not here to throw shade on anyone, but I thought that I would delve into the topic because of often I see people gatekeeping the idea of what being a writer means, and I am not here for any of that.

So let me be clear from the start where I stand: you are valid as a writer so long as you're writing. Now I don't mean that if you take a break, or hit a roadblock or your circumstances change that you're suddenly kicked out of the writing club. I simply mean that for me writing, and being a writer is pretty simple. It doesn't need to be complex, it doesn't need to be a checklist of forty-nine things you have to do to be considered valid, it's simply, you're writing, or in the process of writing, then congrats, you are a writer, you are valid and you belong here!

I will admit to have those same anxieties and worries myself. Like I'm someone who came to writing at nineteen, and while I'd always loved reading and telling stories, I didn't see it as my dream job. I knew what I wanted to be from the age of five, and I set my goals accordingly. Now disability and chronic illness soon skewered those plans and then I was left with the idea of what I wanted to do with my life, and that's when my love of writing became a possible career path.

Since then I've not really looked back, I've taken days to finish a draft, months to finish a draft, years to finish a draft, and let's not even go into how long it took me to d├ębut, and publish my second book. There are always going to be roadblocks that pop up for everyone. Of course some will be more impacted than others, but no one's path is always easy all the time. I became a published author at the age of twenty-three, but it really wasn't until my thirties that I started to bloom and shine when it came to both writing and the author life, and mine isn't an uncommon story.

But let's not digress onto another topic, that's something I'll talk about another week, this week I really do want the focus to be on what it means to be a writer. I mentioned a checklist above, and I still do find it hard to fathom that there are people wanting to gatekeep the writing community. I've never really worked out why, and what the harm is to allow these suspect writers into the community, but I'm sure the people involved have their reasons.

For me, it feels like the more people we have, the more welcoming we are, the more open our space, the more people who might be struggling will find their people as it were. I spent the first eleven or so years of my writing journey without other people to talk to, without a community around me. I don't say that to garner sympathy, but to point out that back then, things like Twitter and the like were either in their infancy or they just didn't exist. I don't want to have some writer, of any age, facing that same lonely stretch when they don't know what to do, or even if they're doing this right, to be turned away because of some idea that to be valid as a writer, you must do it this way or that way and that's just the rules.

At the age of forty-one, I gotta admit that my tolerance level for that kind of thing is very low. I'd blame getting into middle-age, but to be honest, it's always been like that. For me, being a writer, being seen as valid as one, is simple. It doesn't need a lot of thought and rigmarole put into it, you just welcome anyone who writes. Whether that's short stories, or novels, poems, or screenplays, and everything in between. There are so many parts of the writing process that are universal. Everyone edits, everyone revises, everyone has to deal with some form of rejection. So why fuss about how people approach it, and not just throw open the door and let everyone in? I don't think that's something that will ever make sense to me, and maybe that's a good thing.

So yes, to be a writer, you write. It doesn't matter what you write. It doesn't matter what genre or age category, whether it's fiction or fact. You are a writer, and you are valid, and there will always be room in my writing community for you.

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

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